Saturday, January 12, 2008

Minutes of United Women’s Forum General Meeting - January 9, 2008

Twenty five women braved a snowy day to attend the meeting which was conducted by Debra Poulsen. Debra welcomed the group, announced the program and introduced the guest panelists.

Prayer was given by Carolyn Harmer and Pledge of Allegiance was led by Anne Marie Oborn.

Linda Reeves began the meeting announcing this year’s theme of “A Season to be Strong – A Time to Act.” She told us that 28 states now have some sort of legal gambling. They target interactive games to the 21-40 age group and start with seemingly innocent games such as Bingo. Gambling is a 38 billion dollar industry. Pornography is another evil that is flourishing in the world. It contributes greatly to the declining moral standards that surround us. Linda reminded us that we all have an opportunity to make a choice of what we will do and where we will stand. She compared life to a baseball game where we don’t know what the outcome of the game will be beforehand. In the “game of life” we have a chance to choose what team we are going to suit up for. “Battles will be lost but we know who will win the war,” she said. Linda reminded us that we live in a “holy land.” Not THE Holy Land but a land which was preserved to be a blessing to the world. She told us of a prayer said by Ben Franklin before the First Continental Congress where he prayed for protection. He said that “God governs in the affairs of men.” We need His help. We can each make a difference with small actions carrying forth the cause of God. We can win the war!

Next, Debra Poulsen’s remarks were titled “A Picture of Liberty.” She asked us to imagine a canvas and then paint the world as we see it now. Create a painting. Did we see ourselves in that painting? As a girl, Debra spoke of her own experiences of feeling a love for the flag, a love for the country and a joy to be an American. These feelings have continues with her to this day. She said “this is the Spirit of Liberty” – feeling patriotic. “Our founding Fathers recognized the ideal of liberty – living in days that tried men’s souls.” She said that “what we achieve too cheaply, we esteem to lightly.” “There is a price to pay for freedom; it is something to value and protect.” Debra attended the dedication of the Utah State capitol last week and said that it was something of grandeur – “the people’s house.” “It can now withstand earthquakes but it can’t withstand neglect of the people,” she said. “Debra admonished us to learn the constitution and to look for and seek out good people to represent us.”

The Moderator for a Panel Discussion today was Lauralee Christensen. Presenters on the panel were: Dalane England – participating at the state level; Laura Bunker – United Families Utah; Cindy Moreno – Communities for Decency; and Miriam Harmer – Participating in a Presidential campaign. Lauralee said that this panel was there to inform us and give us ideas of how we can participate and help in the community, state, world affairs. She said that “we should seek the Lord to guide us, take what we have and say ‘here I am.’”

Dalane England has a passion for our country. She said that freedom is essential to our lives and to God’s plan. “He wants agency for us.” Dalane enjoys woring at the state legislature expressing views and meeting with legislators and others who are also concerned about issues affecting God, country and family and anything related to those issues. She has learned how to fight and defend our constitutional values and how to take the opportunity to get involved. She suggested that we join a machine that is already in place and work hand in hand with others who are organized. She said that there is strength in numbers and it is more effective belonging to an organization than being alone. The Legislature is only in session for 6 weeks and we can make a difference going there for a day, ½ day or as much time as we can spend. The website for the legislature is: She said that it is very user friendly. We are welcome to attend committee meetings; they are open to the public. We can call Delane for any help at: 298-5319 (H) or 330-0303 (C). She said that there is great synergy attending the meetings and learning about various bills. Currently, there are bills about mandatory health care, property tax, abortion, overview of judges, sex offender bills and more.

Laura Bunker, representing United Families of Utah organization, is working on issues that affect the family. She is new to the organization and she asked for help from anyone who would like to join them. They would like to start a Utah database to be able to link to our legislators. They need help in setting this up and are looking for someone who can help with that. She said that UF is hosting a lobbying training meeting at the Bountiful Library on January 17 at 10:30 am. Ron Mortensen will be there to teach everyone how to approach and talk to legislators. She said that recently UFU met with legislators who felt threatened by UF. They are pro gay marriage and want cohabitation rights acknowledged instead of just traditional marriage. This group also wants a change in sexual orientation materials. Anne Marie Oborn showed us some books with a moral viewpoint written by Richard Wilkinson. These books present a social science perspective but support faith-based positions and are available for $16.95. Rose Marie Murray, who participates with United Families, met with our legislators to introduce UF to the legislators. She noted that there are several issues about consumers taking a stand to strengthen pornography stand and other “decency” issues. She told us that Troy Rawlings, Davis County Attorney, (801-451-4300) is working on a bill which strengthens laws penalizing adults who expose children to pornography. There are currently 800 bills going thru this session and it is impossible for every legislator to know all the facts about each bill. We need to participate to be a voice of the community values and lobby them. They want to meet with us and be our voice for family values and issues. Carolyn Harmer told us that currently, there are pressures put on local Doctors to artificially inseminate gay couples. Some Doctors refuse to do that and have been threatened with removal of their license to practice at particular hospitals.

Cindy Moreno, the next panelist heads up Communities for Decency organization – which is an anti-pornography group striving to maintain high standards in our communities. She said that “there are a lot of voices speaking out and that many voices make a difference.” She told us that there are internet safety classes for young people which are taught by teenagers. It is called the Protect Their Minds program. Cindy cautioned us to take nothing for granted with respect to the availability of pornography. “It is pulling people into its grasp.” She asked us to speak up in our state and districts. We can contact Businesses for Decency to enforce the laws we have in place now. Cindy suggested a couple of websites who sponsor what is going on in the media with pornography: and

Miriam Harmer has been involved in the political process for years – since age 18. She urged us to attend our caucus meetings which will be coming up in February, go to Washington DC, learn what is going on, and be involved and informed about current issues. Last summer, Miriam was a legal clerk for the Romney campaign with 80 other interns. She said it was a great experience to learn the political process and to make connections with others. She urged us to “be humble enough to start anywhere.” We can donate, make phone calls, travel to areas to knock on doors, work in offices, pass out literature. She stated that “good people make a difference.” The most important part of her message was that “the media filters the message they want us to hear; they are very negative. We should be optimistic, hopeful and believe in the future.”

Marge Clayton

No comments: